Alfred Adler — Understanding Human Nature — Videos

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Alfred Adler on film (1929)

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Alfred Adler

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Alfred Adler
Alfred Adler (1870-1937) Austrian psychiatrist.jpg

Alfred Adler
Born
Alfred Adler

7 February 1870

Died 28 May 1937 (aged 67)

Residence Austria
Nationality Austrian
Alma mater University of Vienna
Known for Individual psychology
Superiority complex
Inferiority complex
Style of life
Spouse(s) Raissa Epstein
Children Alexandra Adler, Kurt Adler, Valentine Adler, Cornelia Adler
Scientific career
Fields Psychotherapistpsychiatrist
Part of a series of articles on
Psychoanalysis
Freud's couch, London, 2004 (2).jpeg

Alfred Adler (/ˈædlər/;[1] German: [ˈaːdlɐ]; 7 February 1870 – 28 May 1937) was an Austrian medical doctorpsychotherapist, and founder of the school of individual psychology.[2] His emphasis on the importance of feelings of inferiority,[3] the inferiority complex, is recognized as an isolating element which plays a key role in personality development.[4] Alfred Adler considered a human being as an individual whole, therefore he called his psychology “Individual Psychology” (Orgler 1976).

Adler was the first to emphasize the importance of the social element in the re-adjustment process of the individual and who carried psychiatry into the community.[5] A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Adler as the 67th most eminent psychologist of the 20th century.[6]

Early life

Alfred Adler was born at Mariahilfer Straße 208[7] in Rudolfsheim, then a village on the western fringes of Vienna, and today part of Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus, the 15th district of the city. He was second of the seven children of a Hungarian-bornJewish grain merchant and his wife.[8][9] Alfred’s younger brother died in the bed next to him, when Alfred was only three years old.[10]

Alfred was an active, popular child and an average student who was also known for his competitive attitude toward his older brother, Sigmund.

Early on, he developed rickets, which kept him from walking until he was four years old. At the age of four, he developed pneumonia and heard a doctor say to his father, “Your boy is lost”. At that point, he decided to be a physician.[11] He was very interested in the subjects of psychology, sociology and philosophy.[12] After studying at University of Vienna, he specialized as an eye doctor, and later in neurology and psychiatry.[12]

Career

Adler began his medical career as an ophthalmologist, but he soon switched to general practice, and established his office in a less affluent part of Vienna across from the Prater, a combination amusement park and circus. His clients included circus people, and it has been suggested[11] that the unusual strengths and weaknesses of the performers led to his insights into “organ inferiorities” and “compensation”.

In 1902 Adler received an invitation from Sigmund Freud to join an informal discussion group that included Rudolf Reitler and Wilhelm Stekel. The group, the “Wednesday Society” (Mittwochsgesellschaft), met regularly on Wednesday evenings at Freud’s home and was the beginning of the psychoanalytic movement, expanding over time to include many more members. Each week a member would present a paper and after a short break of coffee and cakes, the group would discuss it. The main members were Otto Rank, Max Eitingon, Wilhelm Stekel, Karl Abraham, Hanns Sachs, Fritz Wittels, Max Graf, and Sandor Ferenczi. In 1908, Adler presented his paper, ”The aggressive instinct in life and in neurosis”, at a time when Freud believed that early sexual development was the primary determinant of the making of character, with which Adler took issue. Adler proposed that the sexual and aggressive drives were ”two originally separate instincts which merge later on”. Freud at the time disagreed with this idea.

When Freud later proposed his dual instinct theory of libido and aggressive drives in Freud’s 1920) Beyond the Pleasure Principle, without citing Adler, he was reproached that Adler had proposed the aggressive drive in his 1908 paper (Eissler, 1971). Freud later commented in a 1923 footnote he added to the Little Hans case that, ”I have myself been obliged to assert the existence of an aggressive instinct” (1909, p. 140, 2), while pointing out that his conception of an aggressive drive differs from that of Adler. A long-serving member of the group, he made many more beyond this 1908 pivotal contribution to the group, and Adler became president of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society eight years later (1910). He remained a member of the Society until 1911, when he and a group of his supporters formally disengaged from Freud’s circle, the first of the great dissenters from orthodox psychoanalysis (preceding Carl Jung‘s split in 1914).[13] This departure suited both Freud and Adler, since they had grown to dislike each other. During his association with Freud, Adler frequently maintained his own ideas which often diverged from Freud’s. While Adler is often referred to as “a pupil of Freud”, in fact this was never true; they were colleagues, Freud referring to him in print in 1909 as “My colleague Dr Alfred Adler”.[14] In 1929 Adler showed a reporter with the New York Herald a copy of the faded postcard that Freud had sent him in 1902. He wanted to prove that he had never been a disciple of Freud’s but rather that Freud had sought him out to share his ideas.

Adler founded the Society for Individual Psychology in 1912 after his break from the psychoanalytic movement. Adler’s group initially included some orthodox Nietzschean adherents (who believed that Adler’s ideas on power and inferiority were closer to Nietzsche than Freud’s). Their enmity aside, Adler retained a lifelong admiration for Freud’s ideas on dreams and credited him with creating a scientific approach to their clinical utilization (Fiebert, 1997). Nevertheless, even regarding dream interpretation, Adler had his own theoretical and clinical approach. The primary differences between Adler and Freud centered on Adler’s contention that the social realm (exteriority) is as important to psychology as is the internal realm (interiority). The dynamics of power and compensation extend beyond sexuality, and gender and politics can be as important as libido. Moreover, Freud did not share Adler’s socialist beliefs, the latter’s wife being for example an intimate friend of many of the Russian Marxists such as Leon Trotsky.[15]

The Adlerian school

Following Adler’s break from Freud, he enjoyed considerable success and celebrity in building an independent school of psychotherapy and a unique personality theory. He traveled and lectured for a period of 25 years promoting his socially oriented approach. His intent was to build a movement that would rival, even supplant, others in psychology by arguing for the holistic integrity of psychological well-being with that of social equality. Adler’s efforts were halted by World War I, during which he served as a doctor with the Austro-Hungarian Army. After the conclusion of the war, his influence increased greatly. In the 1920s, he established a number of child guidance clinics. From 1921 onwards, he was a frequent lecturer in Europe and the United States, becoming a visiting professor at Columbia University in 1927. His clinical treatment methods for adults were aimed at uncovering the hidden purpose of symptoms using the therapeutic functions of insight and meaning.

Adler was concerned with the overcoming of the superiority/inferiority dynamic and was one of the first psychotherapists to discard the analytic couch in favor of two chairs. This allows the clinician and patient to sit together more or less as equals. Clinically, Adler’s methods are not limited to treatment after-the-fact but extend to the realm of prevention by preempting future problems in the child. Prevention strategies include encouraging and promoting social interest, belonging, and a cultural shift within families and communities that leads to the eradication of pampering and neglect (especially corporal punishment). Adler’s popularity was related to the comparative optimism and comprehensibility of his ideas. He often wrote for the lay public. Adler always retained a pragmatic approach that was task-oriented. These “Life tasks” are occupation/work, society/friendship, and love/sexuality. Their success depends on cooperation. The tasks of life are not to be considered in isolation since, as Adler famously commented, “they all throw cross-lights on one another”.[16]

In his bestselling book, Man’s Search for MeaningDr. Viktor E. Frankl compared his own “Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy” (after Freud’s and Adler’s schools) to Adler’s analysis:

According to logotherapy, the striving to find a meaning in one’s life is the primary motivational force in man. That is why I speak of a will to meaning in contrast to the “pleasure principle” (or, as we could also term it, the will to pleasure) on which Freudian psychoanalysis is centered, as well as in contrast to the will to power stressed by Adlerian psychology.[17]

Emigration

In the early 1930s, after most of Adler’s Austrian clinics had been closed due to his Jewish heritage (despite his conversion to Christianity), Adler left Austria for a professorship at the Long Island College of Medicine in the US. Adler died from a heart attack in 1937 in Aberdeen, Scotland, during a lecture tour, although his remains went missing and were unaccounted for until 2007.[18] His death was a temporary blow to the influence of his ideas, although a number of them were subsequently taken up by neo-Freudians. Through the work of Rudolf Dreikurs in the United States and many other adherents worldwide, Adlerian ideas and approaches remain strong and viable more than 70 years after Adler’s death.

Around the world there are various organizations promoting Adler’s orientation towards mental and social well-being. These include the International Committee of Adlerian Summer Schools and Institutes (ICASSI), the North American Society of Adlerian Psychology(NASAP) and the International Association for Individual Psychology. Teaching institutes and programs exist in Austria, Canada, England, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Switzerland, the United States, Jamaica, Peru, and Wales.

Basic principles

Adler was influenced by the mental construct ideas of the philosopher Hans Vaihinger (The Philosophy of ‘As if’) and the literature of Dostoyevsky. While still a member of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society he developed a theory of organic inferiority and compensation that was the prototype for his later turn to phenomenology and the development of his famous concept, the inferiority complex.

Adler was also influenced by the philosophies of Immanuel KantFriedrich NietzscheRudolf Virchow and the statesman Jan Smuts (who coined the term “holism“). Adler’s School, known as “Individual Psychology”—an arcane reference to the Latin individuus meaning indivisibility, a term intended to emphasize holism—is both a social and community psychology as well as a depth psychology. Adler was an early advocate in psychology for prevention and emphasized the training of parents, teachers, social workers and so on in democratic approaches that allow a child to exercise their power through reasoned decision making whilst co-operating with others. He was a social idealist, and was known as a socialist in his early years of association with psychoanalysis (1902–1911).[19]

Adler was pragmatic and believed that lay people could make practical use of the insights of psychology. Adler was also an early supporter of feminism in psychology and the social world, believing that feelings of superiority and inferiority were often gendered and expressed symptomatically in characteristic masculine and feminine styles. These styles could form the basis of psychic compensation and lead to mental health difficulties. Adler also spoke of “safeguarding tendencies” and neurotic behavior[20] long before Anna Freudwrote about the same phenomena in her book The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense.

Adlerian-based scholarly, clinical and social practices focus on the following topics:[citation needed]

  • Social interest and community feeling
  • Holism and the creative self
  • Fictional finalism, teleology, and goal constructs
  • Psychological and social encouragement
  • Inferiority, superiority and compensation
  • Life style/style of life
  • Early recollections (a projective technique)
  • Family constellation and birth order
  • Life tasks and social embeddedness
  • The conscious and unconscious realms
  • Private logic and common sense (based in part on Kant’s “sensus communis“)
  • Symptoms and neurosis
  • Safeguarding behaviour
  • Guilt and guilt feelings
  • Socratic questioning
  • Dream interpretation
  • Child and adolescent psychology
  • Democratic approaches to parenting and families
  • Adlerian approaches to classroom management
  • Leadership and organisational psychology

From its inception, Adlerian psychology has included both professional and lay adherents. Adler felt that all people could make use of the scientific insights garnered by psychology and he welcomed everyone, from decorated academics to those with no formal education to participate in spreading the principles of Adlerian psychology.[citation needed]

Adler’s approach to personality

Adler’s book, Über den nervösen Charakter (The Neurotic Character) defines his earlier key ideas. He argued that human personality could be explained teleologically: parts of the individual’s unconscious self ideally work to convert feelings of inferiority to superiority (or rather completeness).[21] The desires of the self ideal were countered by social and ethical demands. If the corrective factors were disregarded and the individual overcompensated, then an inferiority complex would occur, fostering the danger of the individual becoming egocentric, power-hungry and aggressive or worse.[22]

Common therapeutic tools include the use of humor, historical instances, and paradoxical injunctions.[23]

Psychodynamics and teleology

Adler maintained that human psychology is psychodynamic in nature. Unlike Freud’s metapsychology that emphasizes instinctual demands, human psychology is guided by goals and fueled by a yet unknown creative force. Like Freud’s instincts, Adler’s fictive goals are largely unconscious. These goals have a “teleological” function.[24] Constructivist Adlerians, influenced by neo-Kantian and Nietzschean ideas, view these “teleological” goals as “fictions” in the sense that Hans Vaihinger spoke of (fictio). Usually there is a fictional final goal which can be deciphered alongside of innumerable sub-goals. The inferiority/superiority dynamic is constantly at work through various forms of compensation and overcompensation. For example, in anorexia nervosa the fictive final goal is to “be perfectly thin” (overcompensation on the basis of a feeling of inferiority). Hence, the fictive final goal can serve a persecutory function that is ever-present in subjectivity (though its trace springs are usually unconscious). The end goal of being “thin” is fictive however since it can never be subjectively achieved.

Teleology serves another vital function for Adlerians. Chilon’s “hora telos” (“see the end, consider the consequences”) provides for both healthy and maladaptive psychodynamics. Here we also find Adler’s emphasis on personal responsibility in mentally healthy subjects who seek their own and the social good.

Constructivism and metaphysics

The metaphysical thread of Adlerian theory does not problematise the notion of teleology since concepts such as eternity (an ungraspable end where time ceases to exist) match the religious aspects that are held in tandem. In contrast, the constructivist Adlerian threads (either humanist/modernist or postmodern in variant) seek to raise insight of the force of unconscious fictions– which carry all of the inevitability of ‘fate’– so long as one does not understand them. Here, ‘teleology’ itself is fictive yet experienced as quite real. This aspect of Adler’s theory is somewhat analogous to the principles developed in Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) and Cognitive Therapy (CT). Both Albert Ellis and Aaron T. Beck credit Adler as a major precursor to REBT and CT. Ellis in particular was a member of the North American Society for Adlerian Psychology and served as an editorial board member for the Adlerian Journal Individual Psychology.[citation needed]

As a psychodynamic system, Adlerians excavate the past of a client/patient in order to alter their future and increase integration into community in the ‘here-and-now’.[25] The ‘here-and-now’ aspects are especially relevant to those Adlerians who emphasize humanism and/or existentialism in their approaches.

Holism

Metaphysical Adlerians emphasise a spiritual holism in keeping with what Jan Smuts articulated (Smuts coined the term “holism”), that is, the spiritual sense of one-ness that holism usually implies (etymology of holism: from ὅλος holos, a Greek word meaning all, entire, total) Smuts believed that evolution involves a progressive series of lesser wholes integrating into larger ones. Whilst Smuts’ text Holism and Evolution is thought to be a work of science, it actually attempts to unify evolution with a higher metaphysical principle (holism). The sense of connection and one-ness revered in various religious traditions (among these, Baha’i, Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Buddhism) finds a strong complement in Adler’s thought.[citation needed]

The pragmatic and materialist aspects to contextualizing members of communities, the construction of communities and the socio-historical-political forces that shape communities matter a great deal when it comes to understanding an individual’s psychological make-up and functioning. This aspect of Adlerian psychology holds a high level of synergy with the field of community psychology, especially given Adler’s concern for what he called “the absolute truth and logic of communal life”.[26] However, Adlerian psychology, unlike community psychology, is holistically concerned with both prevention and clinical treatment after-the-fact. Hence, Adler can be considered the “first community psychologist”, a discourse that formalized in the decades following Adler’s death (King & Shelley, 2008).

Adlerian psychology, Carl Jung‘s analytical psychologyGestalt therapy and Karen Horney‘s psychodynamic approach are holistic schools of psychology. These discourses eschew a reductive approach to understanding human psychology and psychopathology.[citation needed]

Typology

Adler developed a scheme of so-called personality types, which were however always to be taken as provisional or heuristic since he did not, in essence, believe in personality types, and at different times proposed different and equally tentative systems.[27] The danger with typology is to lose sight of the individual’s uniqueness and to gaze reductively, acts that Adler opposed. Nevertheless, he intended to illustrate patterns that could denote a characteristic governed under the overall style of life. Hence American Adlerians such as Harold Mosak have made use of Adler’s typology in this provisional sense:[28]

  • The Getting or Leaning They are sensitive people who have developed a shell around themselves which protects them, but they must rely on others to carry them through life’s difficulties. They have low energy levels and so become dependent. When overwhelmed, they develop what we typically think of as neurotic symptoms: phobias, obsessions and compulsions, general anxiety, hysteria, amnesias, and so on, depending on individual details of their lifestyle.
  • The Avoiding types are those that hate being defeated. They may be successful, but have not taken any risks getting there. They are likely to have low social contact in fear of rejection or defeat in any way.
  • The Ruling or Dominant type strive for power and are willing to manipulate situations and people, anything to get their way. People of this type are also prone to anti-social behavior.
  • The Socially Useful types are those who are very outgoing and very active. They have a lot of social contact and strive to make changes for the good.

These ‘types’ are typically formed in childhood and are expressions of the Style of Life.

The importance of memories

Adler placed great emphasis upon the interpretation of early memories in working with patients and school children, writing that, “Among all psychic expressions, some of the most revealing are the individual’s memories.”[29] Adler viewed memories as expressions of “private logic” and as metaphors for an individual’s personal philosophy of life or “lifestyle”. He maintained that memories are never incidental or trivial; rather, they are chosen reminders: “(A person’s) memories are the reminders she carries about with her of her limitations and of the meanings of events. There are no ‘chance’ memories. Out of the incalculable number of impressions that an individual receives, she chooses to remember only those which she considers, however dimly, to have a bearing on her problems.”[30]

On birth order

Adler often emphasized one’s birth order as having an influence on the style of life and the strengths and weaknesses in one’s psychological make up.[31] Birth order referred to the placement of siblings within the family. Adler believed that the firstborn child would be in a favorable position, enjoying the full attention of the eager new parents until the arrival of a second child. This second child would cause the first born to suffer feelings of dethronement, no longer being the center of attention. Adler (1908) believed that in a three-child family, the oldest child would be the most likely to suffer from neuroticism and substance addiction which he reasoned was a compensation for the feelings of excessive responsibility “the weight of the world on one’s shoulders” (e.g. having to look after the younger ones) and the melancholic loss of that once supremely pampered position. As a result, he predicted that this child was the most likely to end up in jail or an asylum. Youngest children would tend to be overindulged, leading to poor social empathy. Consequently, the middle child, who would experience neither dethronement nor overindulgence, was most likely to develop into a successful individual yet also most likely to be a rebel and to feel squeezed-out. Adler himself was the third (some sources credit second) in a family of six children.

Adler never produced any scientific support for his interpretations on birth order roles, nor did he feel the need to. Yet the value of the hypothesis was to extend the importance of siblings in marking the psychology of the individual beyond Freud’s more limited emphasis on the mother and father. Hence, Adlerians spend time therapeutically mapping the influence that siblings (or lack thereof) had on the psychology of their clients. The idiographic approach entails an excavation of the phenomenology of one’s birth order position for likely influence on the subject’s Style of Life. In sum, the subjective experiences of sibling positionality and inter-relations are psychodynamically important for Adlerian therapists and personality theorists, not the cookbook predictions that may or may not have been objectively true in Adler’s time.

For Adler, birth order answered the question, “Why do children, who are raised in the same family, grow up with very different personalities?” While a strict geneticist, believing siblings are raised in a shared environment, may claim any differences in personality would be caused by subtle variations in the individuals’ genetics, Adler showed through his birth order theory that children do not grow up in the same shared environment, but the oldest child grows up in a family where they have younger siblings, the middle child with older and younger siblings, and the youngest with older siblings. The position in the family constellation, Adler said, is the reason for these differences in personality and not genetics: a point later taken up by Eric Berne.[32]

On addiction

Adler’s insight into birth order, compensation and issues relating to the individuals’ perception of community also led him to investigate the causes and treatment of substance abuse disorders, particularly alcoholism and morphinism, which already were serious social problems of his time. Adler’s work with addicts was significant since most other prominent proponents of psychoanalysis invested relatively little time and thought into this widespread ill of the modern and post-modern age. In addition to applying his individual psychology approach of organ inferiority, for example, to the onset and causes of addictive behaviours, he also tried to find a clear relationship of drug cravings to sexual gratification or their substitutions. Early pharmaco-therapeutic interventions with non-addictive substances, such as neuphyllin were used, since withdrawal symptoms were explained by a form of “water-poisoning” that made the use of diuretics necessary. Adler and his wife’s pragmatic approach, and the seemingly high success rates of their treatment were based on their ideas of social functioning and well-being. Clearly, life style choices and situations were emphasized, for example the need for relaxation or the negative effects of early childhood conflicts were examined, which compared to other authoritarian or religious treatment regimens, were clearly modern approaches. Certainly some of his observations, for example that psychopaths were more likely to be drug addicts are not compatible with current methodologies and theories of substance abuse treatment, but the self-centred attributes of the illness and the clear escapism from social responsibilities by pathological addicts put Adler’s treatment modalities clearly into a modern contextual reasoning.[33]

On homosexuality

Adler’s ideas regarding non-heterosexual sexuality and various social forms of deviance have long been controversial. Along with prostitution and criminality, Adler had classified ‘homosexuals’ as falling among the “failures of life”. In 1917, he began his writings on homosexuality with a 52-page magazine, and sporadically published more thoughts throughout the rest of his life.

The Dutch psychologist Gerard J. M. van den Aardweg underlines how Alfred Adler came to his conclusions for, in 1917, Adler believed that he had established a connection between homosexuality and an inferiority complex towards one’s own gender. This point of view differed from Freud’s theory that homosexuality is rooted in narcissism or Jung‘s view of expressions of contrasexuality vis-à-vis the archetypes of the Anima and Animus.

There is evidence that Adler may have moved towards abandoning the hypothesis. Towards the end of Adler’s life, in the mid-1930s, his opinion towards homosexuality began to shift. Elizabeth H. McDowell, a New York state family social worker recalls undertaking supervision with Adler on a young man who was “living in sin” with an older man in New York City. Adler asked her, “Is he happy, would you say?” “Oh yes,” McDowell replied. Adler then stated, “Well, why don’t we leave him alone.”[34]

According to Phyllis Bottome, who wrote Adler’s Biography (after Adler himself laid upon her that task): “He always treated homosexuality as lack of courage. These were but ways of obtaining a slight release for a physical need while avoiding a greater obligation. A transient partner of your own sex is a better known road and requires less courage than a permanent contact with an “unknown” sex. […] Adler taught that men cannot be judged from within by their “possessions,” as he used to call nerves, glands, traumas, drives et cetera, since both judge and prisoner are liable to misconstrue what is invisible and incalculable; but that he can be judged, with no danger from introspection, by how he measures up to the three common life tasks set before every human being between the cradle and the grave. Work or employment, love or marriage, social contact.”[35]

Parent education

Adler emphasized both treatment and prevention. With regard to psychodynamic psychology, Adlerians emphasize the foundational importance of childhood in developing personality and any tendency towards various forms of psychopathology. The best way to inoculate against what are now termed “personality disorders” (what Adler had called the “neurotic character”), or a tendency to various neurotic conditions (depression, anxiety, etc.), is to train a child to be and feel an equal part of the family. The responsibility of the optimal development of the child is not limited to the mother or father, but rather includes teachers and society more broadly. Adler argued therefore that teachers, nurses, social workers, and so on require training in parent education to complement the work of the family in fostering a democratic character. When a child does not feel equal and is enacted upon (abused through pampering or neglect) he or she is likely to develop inferiority or superiority complexes and various concomitant compensation strategies.[36] These strategies exact a social toll by seeding higher divorce rates, the breakdown of the family, criminal tendencies, and subjective suffering in the various guises of psychopathology. Adlerians have long promoted parent education groups, especially those influenced by the famous Austrian/American Adlerian Rudolf Dreikurs (Dreikurs & Soltz, 1964).

Spirituality, ecology and community

In a late work, Social Interest: A Challenge to Mankind (1938), Adler turns to the subject of metaphysics, where he integrates Jan Smuts’ evolutionary holism with the ideas of teleology and community: “sub specie aeternitatis“. Unabashedly, he argues his vision of society: “Social feeling means above all a struggle for a communal form that must be thought of as eternally applicable… when humanity has attained its goal of perfection… an ideal society amongst all mankind, the ultimate fulfillment of evolution.”[37] Adler follows this pronouncement with a defense of metaphysics:

I see no reason to be afraid of metaphysics; it has had a great influence on human life and development. We are not blessed with the possession of absolute truth; on that account we are compelled to form theories for ourselves about our future, about the results of our actions, etc. Our idea of social feeling as the final form of humanity – of an imagined state in which all the problems of life are solved and all our relations to the external world rightly adjusted – is a regulative ideal, a goal that gives our direction. This goal of perfection must bear within it the goal of an ideal community, because all that we value in life, all that endures and continues to endure, is eternally the product of this social feeling.[38]

This social feeling for Adler is Gemeinschaftsgefühl, a community feeling whereby one feels he or she belongs with others and has also developed an ecological connection with nature (plants, animals, the crust of this earth) and the cosmos as a whole, sub specie aeternitatis. Clearly, Adler himself had little problem with adopting a metaphysical and spiritual point of view to support his theories. Yet his overall theoretical yield provides ample room for the dialectical humanist (modernist) and the postmodernist to explain the significance of community and ecology through differing lenses (even if Adlerians have not fully considered how deeply divisive and contradictory these three threads of metaphysics, modernism, and post modernism are).

Death and cremation

Adler died suddenly in AberdeenScotland, in May 1937, during a three-week visit to the University of Aberdeen. While walking down the street, he was seen to collapse and lie motionless on the pavement. As a man ran over to him and loosened his collar, Adler mumbled “Kurt”, the name of his son and died. The autopsy performed determined his death was caused by a degeneration of the heart muscle.[39] His body was cremated at Warriston Crematorium in Edinburgh but the ashes were never reclaimed. In 2007, his ashes were rediscovered in a casket at Warriston Crematorium and returned to Vienna for burial in 2011.[40]

Use of Adler’s work without attribution

Much of Adler’s theories have been absorbed into modern psychology without attribution. Psychohistorian Henri F. Ellenberger writes, “It would not be easy to find another author from which so much has been borrowed on all sides without acknowledgement than Alfred Adler.” Ellenberger posits several theories for “the discrepancy between greatness of achievement, massive rejection of person and work, and wide-scale, quiet plagiarism…” These include Adler’s “imperfect” style of writing and demeanor, his “capacity to create a new obviousness,” and his lack of a large and well organized following.[41]

Influence on depth psychology

In collaboration with Sigmund Freud and a small group of Freud’s colleagues, Adler was among the co-founders of the psychoanalytic movement and a core member of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society: indeed, to Freud he was “the only personality there”.[42] He was the first major figure to break away from psychoanalysis to form an independent school of psychotherapy and personality theory,[43] which he called individual psychology because he believed a human to be an indivisible whole, an individuum. He also imagined a person to be connected or associated with the surrounding world.[44]

This was after Freud declared Adler’s ideas as too contrary, leading to an ultimatum to all members of the Society (which Freud had shepherded) to drop Adler or be expelled, disavowing the right to dissent (Makari, 2008). Nevertheless, Freud always took Adler’s ideas seriously, calling them “honorable errors. Though one rejects the content of Adler’s views, one can recognize their consistency and significance.”[45] Following this split, Adler would come to have an enormous, independent effect on the disciplines of counseling and psychotherapy as they developed over the course of the 20th century (Ellenberger, 1970). He influenced notable figures in subsequent schools of psychotherapy such as Rollo MayViktor FranklAbraham Maslow and Albert Ellis.[46] His writings preceded, and were at times surprisingly consistent with, later neo-Freudian insights such as those evidenced in the works of Otto RankKaren HorneyHarry Stack Sullivan and Erich Fromm, some considering that it would take several decades for Freudian ego psychology to catch up with Adler’s ground-breaking approach.[47]

Adler emphasized the importance of equality in preventing various forms of psychopathology, and espoused the development of social interest and democratic family structures for raising children.[48] His most famous concept is the inferiority complex which speaks to the problem of self-esteem and its negative effects on human health (e.g. sometimes producing a paradoxical superiority striving). His emphasis on power dynamics is rooted in the philosophy of Nietzsche, whose works were published a few decades before Adler’s. Specifically, Adler’s conceptualization of the “Will to Power” focuses on the individual’s creative power to change for the better.[49] Adler argued for holism, viewing the individual holistically rather than reductively, the latter being the dominant lens for viewing human psychology. Adler was also among the first in psychology to argue in favor of feminism, and the female analyst,[50] making the case that power dynamics between men and women (and associations with masculinity and femininity) are crucial to understanding human psychology (Connell, 1995). Adler is considered, along with Freud and Jung, to be one of the three founding figures of depth psychology, which emphasizes the unconscious and psychodynamics (Ellenberger, 1970; Ehrenwald, 1991); and thus to be one of the three great psychologists/philosophers of the twentieth century.[51]

Personal life

During his college years, he had become attached to a group of socialist students, among which he had found his wife-to-be, Raissa Timofeyewna Epstein, an intellectual and social activist from Russia studying in Vienna. They married in 1897 and had four children, two of whom became psychiatrists.[52] Their children were writer, psychiatrist and Socialist activist Alexandra Adler;[53] psychiatrist Kurt Adler;[54] writer and activist Valentine Adler;[55] and Cornelia “Nelly” Adler.[56]

Author and journalist Margot Adler (1946-2014) was Adler’s granddaughter.

Artistic and cultural references

The two main characters in the novel Plant Teacher engage in a session of Adlerian lifestyle interpretation, including early memory interpretation.[57]

English-language Adlerian journals

North America
United Kingdom
  • Adlerian Yearbook (Adlerian Society, UK)

Publications

Alfred Adler’s key publications were The Practice and Theory of Individual Psychology (1927), Understanding Human Nature (1927), & What Life Could Mean to You (1931). Other important publications are The Pattern of Life (1930), The Science of Living (1930), The Neurotic Constitution (1917), The Problems of Neurosis (1930). In his lifetime, Adler published more than 300 books and articles.

The Alfred Adler Institute of Northwestern Washington has recently published a twelve-volume set of The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler, covering his writings from 1898-1937. An entirely new translation of Adler’s magnum opus, The Neurotic Character, is featured in Volume 1. Volume 12 provides comprehensive overviews of Adler’s mature theory and contemporary Adlerian practice.

  • Volume 1 : The Neurotic Character — 1907
  • Volume 2 : Journal Articles 1898-1909
  • Volume 3 : Journal Articles 1910-1913
  • Volume 4 : Journal Articles 1914-1920
  • Volume 5 : Journal Articles 1921-1926
  • Volume 6 : Journal Articles 1927-1931
  • Volume 7 : Journal Articles 1931-1937
  • Volume 8 : Lectures to Physicians & Medical Students
  • Volume 9 : Case Histories
  • Volume 10 : Case Readings & Demonstrations
  • Volume 11 : Education for Prevention
  • Volume 12 : The General System of Individual Psychology

Other key Adlerian texts

  • Adler, A. (1964). The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler. H. L. Ansbacher and R. R. Ansbacher (Eds.). New York: Harper Torchbooks. ISBN 0-06-131154-5.
  • Adler, A. (1979). Superiority and Social Interest: A Collection of Later Writings. H. L. Ansbacher and R. R. Ansbacher (Eds.). New York, NY: W. W. Norton. ISBN 0-393-00910-6.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ “Adler”Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary.
  2. ^ Hoffman, E (1994). The Drive for Self: Alfred Adler and the Founding of Individual Psychology. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. pp. 41–91. ISBN 978-0-201-63280-4.
  3. ^ Alfred Adler, Understanding Human Nature (1992) Chapter 6
  4. ^ Carlson, Neil R (2010). Psychology the science of behaviour.
  5. ^ “my.access — University of Toronto Libraries Portal”. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  6. ^ Haggbloom, Steven J.; Warnick, Renee; Warnick, Jason E.; Jones, Vinessa K.; Yarbrough, Gary L.; Russell, Tenea M.; Borecky, Chris M.; McGahhey, Reagan; et al. (2002). “The 100 most eminent psychologists of the 20th century”Review of General Psychology6 (2): 139–152. doi:10.1037/1089-2680.6.2.139.
  7. ^ Prof. Dr. Klaus Lohrmann “Jüdisches Wien. Kultur-Karte” (2003), Mosse-Berlin Mitte gGmbH (Verlag Jüdische Presse)
  8. ^ “Alfred Adler Biography”. Encyclopedia of World Biography. Archived from the original on 7 January 2010. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
  9. ^ O., Prochaska, James (2013-05-10). Systems of psychotherapy : a transtheoretical analysis. Norcross, John C., 1957- (Eighth ed.). Stamford, CT. ISBN 9781133314516OCLC 851089001.
  10. ^ Orgler, Hertha. Alfred Adler, the Man and His Work;. London: C. W. Daniel, 1939. 67. Print.
  11. Jump up to:a b C. George Boeree (1937-05-28). “Personality Theories – Alfred Adler by Dr. C. George Boeree”. Webspace.ship.edu. Retrieved 2014-05-19.
  12. Jump up to:a b Orgler, H. (1976). Alfred Adler. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 22(1), 67-68.
  13. ^ For further detail, see Sigmund Freud#Resignations from the IPA
  14. ^ Sigmund Freud, Case Histories II (PFL 9) p. 41n
  15. ^ Jones, p. 401
  16. ^ The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler, 1956, edited by H. L. Ansbacher, R. R. Ansbacher, pp. 132–133
  17. ^ Frankl, Viktor. (1959). Man’s Search for Meaning. Boston, Massachusetts: Beacon Press; also, Seidner, Stanley S. (June 10, 2009) “A Trojan Horse: Logotherapeutic Transcendence and its Secular Implications for Theology”Mater Dei Institute. pp 10-12.
  18. ^ Carrell, Severin (11 April 2011). “Ashes of psychoanalysis co-founder Alfred Adler found after 74 years”The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 13 April 2011. Retrieved 10 April 2011.
  19. ^ “Alfred Adler’s Influence on the Three Leading Cofounders of Humanistic Psychology”. Journal of Humanistic Psychology (September 1990).
  20. ^ Encyclopedia of Theory & Practice in Psychotherapy & Counseling By Jose A. Fadul (General Editor)
  21. ^ ‘Inferiority Complex’, in Richard Gregory ed, The Oxford Companion to the Mind (1987) p. 368
  22. ^ Adler, Understanding Ch. 11 ‘Aggressive Character Traits’
  23. ^ Gerald Corey, Theory and Practice of Counselling and Psychotherapy (1991)p. 155 and p. 385
  24. ^ Adler, Understanding p. 69-76
  25. ^ Adler, Understanding p. 139-42
  26. ^ Adler, Understanding p. 209
  27. ^ Henri F. Ellenberger, The Discovery of the Unconscious (1970) p. 624
  28. ^ H. H. Mosak/M. Maniacci, A Primer of Adlerian Psychology (1999) p. 64-5
  29. ^ Adler, Alfred. What Life Could Mean to You. 1998, Hazelden Foundation. Center City, Minnesota: Hazelden. 58.
  30. ^ Adler, Alfred. What Life Could Mean to You. 1998, Hazelden Foundation. Center City, Minnesota: Hazelden. 58–59.
  31. ^ Adler, Understanding Ch 9 “The Family Constellation”
  32. ^ Eric Berne, What Do You Say After You Say Hello? (1975) p. 71-81
  33. ^ Adler, A. (1932). Narcotic Abuse and Alcoholism, Chapter VII. p. 50-65. The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler: Journal articles: 1931-1937. Transl. by G.L.Liebenau. T.Stein (2005). ISBN 0-9715645-8-2.
  34. ^ Manaster, Painter, Deutsch, and Overholt, 1977, pp. 81–82
  35. ^ “Alfred Adler – A Biography”, G.P.Putnam’s Sons, New York (copyright 1939), chap. Chief Contributions to Thought, subchap. 7, The Masculine Protest, and subchap. 9, Three Life Tasks, page 160.
  36. ^ Adler, Understanding p. 44-5
  37. ^ Social Interest: A Challenge to Mankind, Alfred Adler, 1938, translated by Linton John, Richard Vaughan, p. 275
  38. ^ Social Interest: A Challenge to Mankind, Alfred Adler, 1938, translated by Linton John, Richard Vaughan, pp. 275–276
  39. ^ Donaldson, Norman and Betty (1980). How Did They Die?. Greenwich House. ISBN 978-0-517-40302-0.
  40. ^ “Lost ashes of Alfred Adler return to Vienna”BBC News. 18 April 2011.
  41. ^ Ellenberger, Henri F. “The Discovery of the Unconscious: The History and Evolution of Dynamic Psychiatry.” United States of America. Basic Books. 1970. Pages 645-646.
  42. ^ Freud, quoted in Ernest Jones, The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud (1964) p. 353
  43. ^ Stepansky, P (1983). In Freud’s Shadow: Adler in Context. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum. p. 325. ISBN 978-0-88163-007-7.
  44. ^ Orgler H (1976). “Alfred Adler”. International Journal of Social Psychiatry22 (1): 67–68. doi:10.1177/002076407602200110PMID 783061.
  45. ^ Quoted in Jones, p. 400
  46. ^ Stein, H.T. (2008). “Adler’s Legacy: Past, Present, and Future”. Journal of Individual Psychology64 (1): 4–20.
  47. ^ Ruth L. Munroe, Schools of Psychoanalytic Thought (1957) p. 437
  48. ^ Adler, Alfred (1931). What Life Could Mean to You. Center City, MN: Hazelden.
  49. ^ Stepp, G. “A Psychology of Change”.
  50. ^ Peter Gay, Freud: A Life for our Time (1988) p. 503n
  51. ^ James Hemming, Foreword, Alfred Adler, Understanding Human Nature (1992) p. 9
  52. ^ “Classical Adlerian Photograph Gallery”. Retrieved 5 June 2013.
  53. ^ “Adler, Valentine (1898–1942)”Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Gale Research Inc. Archived from the original on 18 May 2013. Retrieved 10 January2013.(subscription required)
  54. ^ Burkhart, Ford. “Dr. Kurt Alfred Adler, 92; Directed Therapeutic Institute”The New York Times. Retrieved 5 June 2013.
  55. ^ Hoffman, Edward (1994). The drive for self : Alfred Adler and the founding of individual psychology (1. print. ed.). Reading, Mass. u.a.: Addison-Wesley. p. 31. ISBN 978-0-201-63280-4.
  56. ^ Hoffman, Edward (1994). The drive for self : Alfred Adler and the founding of individual psychology (1. print. ed.). Reading, Mass. u.a.: Addison-Wesley. ISBN 978-0-201-63280-4.
  57. ^ Alethia, Caroline. Plant Teacher. Viator. United States. (2011) ISBN 1468138391. ASIN B006QAECNO.

References

  • Adler, A. (1908). Der Aggressionstrieb im Leben und der Neurose. Fortsch. Med. 26: 577-584.
  • Adler, A. (1938). Social Interest: A Challenge to Mankind. J. Linton and R. Vaughan (Trans.). London: Faber and Faber Ltd.
  • Adler, A. (1956). The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler. H. L. Ansbacher and R. R. Ansbacher (Eds.). New York: Harper Torchbooks.
  • Connell, R. W. (1995). Masculinities. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.
  • Dreikurs, R. & Soltz, V. (1964). Children the Challenge. New York: Hawthorn Books.
  • Ehrenwald, J. (1991, 1976). The History of Psychotherapy: From healing magic to encounter. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson Inc.
  • Eissler, K.R. (1971). Death Drive, Ambivalence, and Narcissism. Psychoanal. St. Child, 26: 25-78.
  • Ellenberger, H. (1970). The Discovery of the Unconscious. New York: Basic Books.
  • Fiebert, M. S. (1997). In and out of Freud’s shadow: A chronology of Adler’s relationship with Freud. Individual Psychology, 53(3), 241-269.
  • Freud, S. (1909). Analysis of a Phobia in a Five-Year-Old Boy. Standard Edition of the Works of Sigmund Freud, London: Hogarth Press, Vol. 10, pp. 3-149.
  • King, R. & Shelley, C. (2008). Community Feeling and Social Interest: Adlerian Parallels, Synergy, and Differences with the Field of Community Psychology. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 18, 96-107.
  • Manaster, G. J., Painter, G., Deutsch, D., & Overholt, B. J. (Eds.). (1977). Alfred Adler: As We Remember Him. Chicago: North American Society of Adlerian Psychology.
  • Shelley, C. (Ed.). (1998). Contemporary Perspectives on Psychotherapy and Homosexualities. London: Free Association Books.
  • Slavik, S. & King, R. (2007). Adlerian therapeutic strategy. The Canadian Journal of Adlerian Psychology, 37(1), 3-16.
  • Gantschacher, H. (ARBOS 2007). Witness and Victim of the Apocalypse, chapter 13 page 12 and chapter 14 page 6.
  • Orgler, H. (1996). Alfred Adler, 22 (1), pg. 67-68.

Further reading

  • Orgler, Hertha, Alfred Adler, International Journal of Social Psychiatry, V. 22 (1), 1976-Spring, p. 67
  • Phyllis Bottome (1939). Alfred Adler – A Biography. G. P. Putnam’s Sons. New York.
  • Phyllis Bottome (1939). Alfred Adler – Apostle of Freedom. London: Faber and Faber. 3rd Ed. 1957.
  • Carlson, J., Watts, R. E., & Maniacci, M. (2005). Adlerian Therapy: Theory and Practice. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. ISBN 1-59147-285-7.
  • Dinkmeyer, D., Sr., & Dreikurs, R. (2000). Encouraging Children to Learn. Philadelphia: Brunner-Routledge. ISBN 1-58391-082-4.
  • Rudolf Dreikurs (1935): An Introduction to Individual Psychology. London: Kegan Paul, Trench Trubner & Co. Ltd. – New edition 1983: London & New York: Routledge, ISBN 0-415-21055-0.
  • Grey, L. (1998). Alfred Adler: The Forgotten Prophet: A Vision for the 21st Century. Westport, CT: Praeger. ISBN 0-275-96072-2.
  • Handlbauer, B. (1998). The Freud – Adler Controversy. Oxford, UK: Oneworld. ISBN 1-85168-127-2.
  • Hoffman, E. (1994). The Drive for Self: Alfred Adler and the Founding of Individual Psychology. New York: Addison-Wesley Co. ISBN 0-201-63280-2.
  • Lehrer, R. (1999). “Adler and Nietzsche”. In: J. Golomb, W. Santaniello, and R. Lehrer. (Eds.). Nietzsche and Depth Psychology. (pp. 229–246). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. ISBN 0-7914-4140-7.
  • Mosak, H. H. & Di Pietro, R. (2005). Early Recollections: Interpretive Method and Application. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-95287-5.
  • Oberst, U. E. and Stewart, A. E. (2003). Adlerian Psychotherapy: An Advanced Approach to Individual Psychology. New York: Brunner-Routledge. ISBN 1-58391-122-7.
  • Orgler, H. (1963). Alfred Adler: The Man and His Work: Triumph Over the Inferiority Complex. New York: Liveright.
  • Orgler, H. (1996). Alfred Adler, 22 (1), pg. 67-68.
  • Josef Rattner (1983): Alfred Adler – Life and Literature. Ungar Pub. Co. ISBN 0-8044-5988-6.
  • Slavik, S. & Carlson, J. (Eds.). (2005). Readings in the Theory of Individual Psychology. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-95168-2.
  • Manès Sperber (1974). Masks of Loneliness: Alfred Adler in Perspective. New York: Macmillan. ISBN 0-02-612950-7.
  • Stepansky, P. E. (1983). In Freud’s Shadow: Adler in Context. Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press. ISBN 0-88163-007-1.
  • Watts, R. E. (2003). Adlerian, cognitive, and constructivist therapies: An integrative dialogue. New York: Springer. ISBN 0-8261-1984-0.
  • Watts, R. E., & Carlson, J. (1999). Interventions and strategies in counseling and psychotherapy. New York: Accelerated Development/Routledge. ISBN 1-56032-690-5.
  • Way, Lewis (1950): Adler’s Place in Psychology. London: Allen & Unwin.
  • Way, Lewis (1956): Alfred Adler – An Introduction to his Psychology. London: Pelican.
  • West, G. K. (1975). Kierkegaard and Adler. Tallahassee: Florida State University.

External links]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Adler

 

Jordan Peterson

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Jordan Peterson
Jordan Peterson June 2018.jpg

Jordan Peterson in Dallas, Texas, USA in June 2018
Born
Jordan Bernt Peterson

June 12, 1962 (age 57)

EdmontonAlberta, Canada
Residence TorontoOntario, Canada
Nationality Canadian
Alma mater
Spouse(s)
Tammy Roberts (m. 1989)
Children 2
Scientific career
Fields Psychology
Institutions
Thesis Potential psychological markers for the predisposition to alcoholism (1991)
Doctoral advisor Robert O. Pihl
Notable students Colin G. DeYoung
Influences Carl Jung
Influenced Gregg Hurwitz
Website jordanbpeterson.com
Signature
Jordan Peterson Signature.svg

Jordan Bernt Peterson (born June 12, 1962) is a Canadian clinical psychologist and a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. His main areas of study are in abnormalsocial, and personality psychology,[1] with a particular interest in the psychology of religious and ideological belief[2] and the assessment and improvement of personality and performance.[3]

Peterson has bachelor’s degrees in political science and psychology from the University of Alberta and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from McGill University. He was a post-doctoral fellow at McGill from 1991 to 1993 before moving to Harvard University, where he was an assistant and then an associate professor in the psychology department.[4][5] In 1998, he moved back to Canada as a faculty member in the psychology department at the University of Toronto, where, as of 2019, he is a full professor.

Peterson’s first book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief (1999), examined several academic fields to describe the structure of systems of beliefs and myths, their role in the regulation of emotion, creation of meaning, and several other topics such as motivation for genocide.[6][7][8] His second book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, was released in January 2018.[4][9][10]

In 2016 Peterson released a series of YouTube videos criticizing political correctness and the Canadian government’s Bill C-16, “An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code”. The Act added “gender identity and expression” as a prohibited ground of discrimination,[a][11] which Peterson characterised as an introduction of compelled speech into law,[12][13][14] although legal experts have disagreed.[15] He subsequently received significant media coverage, attracting both support and criticism.[4][9][10] Peterson is associated with the “Intellectual Dark Web“.[16][17][18]

Contents

Early life

Peterson was born on June 12, 1962,[19] and grew up in FairviewAlberta, a small town northwest of his birthplace Edmonton, in Canada.[20] He was the eldest of three children born to Beverley, a librarian at the Fairview campus of Grande Prairie Regional College, and Walter Peterson, a schoolteacher.[21][22] His middle name is Bernt (/ˈbɛərənt/ BAIR-ənt),[23] after his Norwegian great-grandfather.[24]

When he was 13, he was introduced to the writings of George OrwellAldous HuxleyAleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and Ayn Rand by his school librarian Sandy Notley—mother of Rachel Notley, leader of the Alberta New Democratic Party and 17th Premier of Alberta.[25] He also worked for the New Democratic Party (NDP) throughout his teenage years, but grew disenchanted with the party. He saw his experience of disillusionment resonating with Orwell’s diagnosis, in The Road to Wigan Pier, of “the intellectual, tweed-wearing middle-class socialist” who “didn’t like the poor; they just hated the rich”.[21][26] He left the NDP at age 18.[27]

Education

After graduating from Fairview High School in 1979, Peterson entered the Grande Prairie Regional College to study political science and English literature.[2] He later transferred to the University of Alberta, where he completed his B.A. in political science in 1982.[27] Afterwards, he took a year off to visit Europe. There he began studying the psychological origins of the Cold War, 20th-century European totalitarianism,[2][28] and the works of Carl JungFriedrich NietzscheAleksandr Solzhenitsyn,[21] and Fyodor Dostoyevsky.[28] He then returned to the University of Alberta and received a B.A. in psychology in 1984.[29] In 1985, he moved to Montreal to attend McGill University. He earned his Ph.D. in clinical psychology under the supervision of Robert O. Pihl in 1991, and remained as a post-doctoral fellow at McGill’s Douglas Hospital until June 1993, working with Pihl and Maurice Dongier.[2][30]

Career

Peterson at the University of Toronto in March 2017.

From July 1993 to June 1998,[1] Peterson lived in Arlington, Massachusetts, while teaching and conducting research at Harvard University as an assistant and an associate professor in the psychology department. During his time at Harvard, he studied aggression arising from drug and alcohol abuse and supervised a number of unconventional thesis proposals.[27] Two former Ph.D. students, Shelley Carson, a psychologist and teacher from Harvard, and author Gregg Hurwitz recalled that Peterson’s lectures were already highly admired by the students.[4] In July 1998, he returned to Canada and took up a post as a full professor at the University of Toronto.[1][29]

Peterson’s areas of study and research are in the fields of psychopharmacologyabnormalneuroclinicalpersonalitysocialindustrial and organizational,[1] religiousideological,[2] political, and creativity psychology.[3]Peterson has authored or co-authored more than a hundred academic papers[31] and has been cited almost 8,000 times as of mid-2017. [32]

For most of his career, Peterson had an active clinical practice, seeing about 20 people a week. He had been active on social media, and in September 2016 he released a series of videos in which he criticized Bill C-16.[25][33]As a result of new projects, he decided to put the clinical practice on hold in 2017[9] and temporarily stopped teaching as of 2018.[22][34]

In June 2018, Peterson debated with Sam Harris at the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver while moderated by Bret Weinstein, and again in July at the 3Arena in Dublin and The O2 Arena in London while moderated by Douglas Murray, over the topic of religion and God.[35][36] In April 2019, Peterson debated professor Slavoj Žižek at the Sony Centre in Toronto, Canada over happiness under capitalism versus Marxism.[37][38]

Works

Books

Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief (1999)

In 1999 Routledge published Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief. The book, which took Peterson 13 years to complete, describes a comprehensive theory about how people construct meaning, form beliefs and make narrativesusing ideas from various fields including mythologyreligionliteraturephilosophy and psychology in accordance to the modern scientific understanding of how the brain functions.[27][5][39]

According to Peterson, his main goal was to examine why both individuals and groups participate in social conflict, explore the reasoning and motivation individuals take to support their belief systems (i.e. ideological identification[27]) that eventually results in killing and pathological atrocities like the Gulag, the Auschwitz concentration camp and the Rwandan genocide.[27][5][39] He considers that an “analysis of the world’s religious ideas might allow us to describe our essential morality and eventually develop a universal system of morality”.[39] Jungian archetypes play an important role in the book.[4]

In 2004, a 13-part TV series based on Peterson’s book Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief aired on TVOntario.[21][29][40]

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (2018)

In January 2018, Penguin Random House published Peterson’s second book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. The work contains abstract ethical principles about life, in a more accessible style than Maps of Meaning.[9][4][10] To promote the book, Peterson went on a world tour.[41][42][43] As part of the tour, Peterson was interviewed in the UK by Cathy Newman on Channel 4 News which generated considerable attention, as well as popularity for the book.[44][45][46][47] The book topped bestselling lists in Canada, the US, and the United Kingdom.[48][49] As of January 2019, Peterson is working on a sequel to 12 Rules for Life.[50]

YouTube channel and podcasts

Peterson (right) speaking to Dave Rubin in September 2018

In 2013, Peterson began recording his lectures (“Personality and Its Transformations”, “Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief”[51]) and uploading them to YouTube. His YouTube channel has gathered more than 1.8 million subscribers and his videos have received more than 65 million views as of August 2018.[33][52] In January 2017, he hired a production team to film his psychology lectures at the University of Toronto. He used funds received on the crowdfunding website Patreon after he became embroiled in the Bill C-16 controversy in September 2016. His funding through Patreon has increased from $1,000 per month in August 2016 to $14,000 by January 2017, more than $50,000 by July 2017, and over $80,000 by May 2018.[25][33][53][54] In December 2018, Peterson decided to delete his Patreon account after Patreon’s controversial bans of political personalities.[55]

Peterson has appeared on many podcasts, conversational series, as well other online shows.[52][56] In December 2016, Peterson started his own podcast, The Jordan B. Peterson Podcast, which has included academic guests such as Camille PagliaMartin Daly, and James W. Pennebaker.[57] On his YouTube channel he has interviewed Stephen HicksRichard J. Haier, and Jonathan Haidt among others.[57] In March 2019, the podcast joined the Westwood One network with Peterson’s daughter as a co-host on some episodes.[58] Peterson supported engineer James Damore in his action against Google.[10]

Biblical lectures

In May 2017, Peterson began The psychological significance of the Biblical stories,[59] a series of live theatre lectures, also published as podcasts, in which he analyzes archetypal narratives in Book of Genesis as patterns of behavior ostensibly vital for personal, social and cultural stability.[10][60]

In March 2019, Peterson had his invitation of a visiting fellowship at Cambridge University rescinded. He had previously said that the fellowship would give him “the opportunity to talk to religious experts of all types for a couple of months”, and that the new lectures would have been on Book of Exodus.[61] A spokesperson for the University said that there was “no place” for anyone who could not uphold the “inclusive environment” of the university.[62] After a week, the vice-chancellor Stephen Toope explained that it was due to a photograph with a man wearing an Islamophobe shirt.[63] The Cambridge student union released a statement of relief, considering the invitation “a political act to … legitimise figures such as Peterson” and that his work and views are not “representative of the student body”.[64]Peterson called the decision a “deeply unfortunate … error of judgement” and expressed regret that the Divinity Faculty had submitted to an “ill-informed, ignorant and ideologically-addled mob”.[65][66]

Self Authoring Suite

In 2005, Peterson and his colleagues set up a for-profit company to provide and produce a writing therapy program with a series of online writing exercises.[67] Titled the Self Authoring Suite,[21] it includes the Past Authoring Program (a guided autobiography); two Present Authoring Programs which allow the participant to analyze their personality faults and virtues in terms of the Big Five personality model; and the Future Authoring Program which guides participants through the process of planning their desired futures. The latter program was used with McGill University undergraduates on academic probation to improve their grades, as well as since 2011 at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University.[68][69] The programs were developed partially from research by James W. Pennebaker at the University of Texas at Austin and Gary Latham at the Rotman School of Management of the University of Toronto.[4] Peterson’s co-authored 2015 study showed significant reduction in ethnic and gender-group differences in performance, especially among ethnic minority male students.[69][70] According to Peterson, more than 10,000 students have used the program as of January 2017, with drop-out rates decreasing by 25% and GPAs rising by 20%.[21]

Political views

Jordan Peterson speaking in front of St. Stephen’s Basilica, Budapest, Hungary, in May 2019.

Peterson has characterized himself as a “classic British liberal“,[28][71][72] and as a “traditionalist”.[73] He has stated that he is commonly mistaken to be right wing.[52] The New York Times described Peterson as “conservative-leaning”,[74] while The Washington Post described him as “conservative”.[75]

Academia and political correctness

Peterson’s critiques of political correctness range over issues such as postmodernismpostmodern feminismwhite privilegecultural appropriation, and environmentalism.[56][76]

Writing in the National Post, Chris Selley said Peterson’s opponents had “underestimated the fury being inspired by modern preoccupations like white privilege and cultural appropriation, and by the marginalization, shouting down or outright cancellation of other viewpoints in polite society’s institutions”,[77] while in The SpectatorTim Lott stated Peterson became “an outspoken critic of mainstream academia”.[28] Peterson’s social media presence has magnified the impact of these views; Simona Chiose of The Globe and Mail noted: “few University of Toronto professors in the humanities and social sciences have enjoyed the global name recognition Prof. Peterson has won”.[33]

According to his study—conducted with one of his students, Christine Brophy—of the relationship between political belief and personality, political correctness exists in two types: “PC-egalitarianism” and “PC-authoritarianism“, which is a manifestation of “offense sensitivity”.[78] Jason McBride claims Peterson places classical liberals in the first type, and places so-called social justice warriors, who he says “weaponize compassion”, in the second.[21][2] The study also found an overlap between PC-authoritarians and right-wing authoritarians.[78]

Peterson considers that the universities should be held as among the most responsible for the wave of political correctness which appeared in North America and Europe.[33] According to Peterson, he watched the rise of political correctness on campuses since the early 1990s,[79] and considers that the humanities have become corrupt, less reliant on science, and instead of “intelligent conversation, we are having an ideological conversation”. From his own experience as a university professor, he states that the students who are coming to his classes are uneducated and unaware about the mass exterminations and crimes by Stalinism and Maoism, which were not given the same attention as fascism and Nazism. He also says that “instead of being ennobled or inculcated into the proper culture, the last vestiges of structure are stripped from [the students] by post-modernism and neo-Marxism, which defines everything in terms of relativism and power“.[28][80][81]

Postmodernism and identity politics

And so since the 1970s, under the guise of postmodernism, we’ve seen the rapid expansion of identity politicsthroughout the universities, it’s come to dominate all of the humanities – which are dead as far as I can tell – and a huge proportion of the social sciences … We’ve been publicly funding extremely radical, postmodern leftist thinkers who are hellbent on demolishing the fundamental substructure of Western civilization. And that’s no paranoid delusion. That’s their self-admitted goal … Jacques Derrida … most trenchantly formulated the anti-Western philosophy that is being pursued so assiduously by the radical left.

— Peterson, 2017[80]

Peterson says that postmodern philosophers and sociologists since the 1960s[76] have built upon and extended certain core tenets of Marxism and communismwhile simultaneously appearing to disavow both ideologies. He says that it is difficult to understand contemporary Western society without considering the influence of a strain of postmodernist thought that migrated from France to the United States through the English department at Yale University. He states that certain academics in the humanities

… started to play a sleight of hand, and instead of pitting the proletariat, the working class, against the bourgeois, they started to pit the oppressed against the oppressor. That opened up the avenue to identifying any number of groups as oppressed and oppressor and to continue the same narrative under a different name … The people who hold this doctrine—this radical, postmodern, communitarian doctrine that makes racial identityor sexual identity or gender identity or some kind of group identity paramount—they’ve got control over most low-to-mid level bureaucratic structures, and many governments as well.[80]

Peterson’s perspective on the influence of postmodernism on North American humanities departments has been compared to Cultural Marxist conspiracy theories.[46][82][83][84]

Peterson says that “disciplines like women’s studies should be defunded” and advises freshman students to avoid subjects like sociologyanthropologyEnglish literatureethnic studies and racial studies, as well as other fields of study he believes are corrupted by the Neo-Marxist ideology.[85][86][87] He says that these fields, under the pretense of academic inquiry, propagate unscientific methods, fraudulent peer-review processes for academic journals, publications that garner zero citations,[88] cult-like behaviour,[86] safe-spaces,[85]and radical left-wing political activism for students.[76] Peterson has proposed launching a website which uses artificial intelligence to identify and showcase the amount of ideologization in specific courses. He announced in November 2017 that he had temporarily postponed the project as “it might add excessively to current polarization”.[89][90]

Peterson has criticized the use of the term “white privilege“, stating that “being called out on their white privilege, identified with a particular racial group and then made to suffer the consequences of the existence of that racial group and its hypothetical crimes, and that sort of thing has to come to a stop. … [It’s] racist in its extreme”.[76] In regard to identity politics, while the “left plays them on behalf of the oppressed, let’s say, and the right tends to play them on behalf of nationalism and ethnic pride” he considers them “equally dangerous” and that, instead, what should be emphasized is individualism and individual responsibility.[91] He has also been prominent in the debate about cultural appropriation, stating it promotes self-censorship in society and journalism.[92]

Bill C-16

On September 27, 2016, Peterson released the first installment of a three-part lecture video series, entitled “Professor against political correctness: Part I: Fear and the Law”.[25][12] In the video, he stated he would not use the preferred gender pronouns of students and faculty, saying it fell under compelled speech, and announced his objection to the Canadian government‘s Bill C-16, which proposed to add “gender identity or expression” as a prohibited ground of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act, and to similarly expand the definitions of promoting genocide and publicly inciting hatred in the Criminal Code.[12][93]

Peterson speaking at a Free Speech Rally in October of 2016

He stated that his objection to the bill was based on potential free speech implications if the Criminal Code is amended, as he claimed he could then be prosecuted under provincial human rights laws if he refuses to call a transgender student or faculty member by the individual’s preferred pronoun.[13] Furthermore, he argued that the new amendments, paired with section 46.3 of the Ontario Human Rights Code, would make it possible for employers and organizations to be subject to punishment under the code if any employee or associate says anything that can be construed “directly or indirectly” as offensive, “whether intentionally or unintentionally”.[14] Other academics and lawyers challenged Peterson’s interpretation of C-16.[13]

The series of videos drew criticism from transgender activists, faculty and labour unions, and critics accused Peterson of “helping to foster a climate for hate to thrive” and of “fundamentally mischaracterising” the law.[94][25] Protests erupted on campus, some including violence, and the controversy attracted international media attention.[95][96][97] When asked in September 2016 if he would comply with the request of a student to use a preferred pronoun, Peterson said “it would depend on how they asked me […] If I could detect that there was a chip on their shoulder, or that they were [asking me] with political motives, then I would probably say no […] If I could have a conversation like the one we’re having now, I could probably meet them on an equal level”.[97] Two months later, the National Post published an op-ed by Peterson in which he elaborated on his opposition to the bill and explained why he publicly made a stand against it:

I will never use words I hate, like the trendy and artificially constructed words “zhe” and “zher.” These words are at the vanguard of a post-modern, radical leftist ideology that I detest, and which is, in my professional opinion, frighteningly similar to the Marxist doctrines that killed at least 100 million people in the 20th century.

I have been studying authoritarianism on the right and the left for 35 years. I wrote a book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief, on the topic, which explores how ideologies hijack language and belief. As a result of my studies, I have come to believe that Marxism is a murderous ideology. I believe its practitioners in modern universities should be ashamed of themselves for continuing to promote such vicious, untenable and anti-human ideas, and for indoctrinating their students with these beliefs. I am therefore not going to mouth Marxist words. That would make me a puppet of the radical left, and that is not going to happen. Period.[98]

In response to the controversy, academic administrators at the University of Toronto sent Peterson two letters of warning, one noting that free speech had to be made in accordance with human rights legislation and the other adding that his refusal to use the preferred personal pronouns of students and faculty upon request could constitute discrimination. Peterson speculated that these warning letters were leading up to formal disciplinary action against him, but in December the university assured him that he would retain his professorship, and in January 2017 he returned to teach his psychology class at the University of Toronto.[99][25]

In February 2017, Maxime Bernier, candidate for leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, stated that he shifted his position on Bill C-16, from support to opposition, after meeting with Peterson and discussing it.[100] Peterson’s analysis of the bill was also frequently cited by senators who were opposed to its passage.[101] In April 2017, Peterson was denied a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grant for the first time in his career, which he interpreted as retaliation for his statements regarding Bill C-16.[32] A media relations adviser for SSHRC said, “Committees assess only the information contained in the application.”[102] In response, The Rebel Media launched an Indiegogo campaign on Peterson’s behalf.[103] The campaign raised C$195,000 by its end on May 6, equivalent to over two years of research funding.[104] In May 2017, Peterson spoke against Bill C-16 at a Canadian Senate committee on legal and constitutional affairs hearing. He was one of 24 witnesses who were invited to speak about the bill.[101]

In November 2017, a teaching assistant at Wilfrid Laurier University first year communications course was censured by her professors for showing a segment of The Agenda, which featured Peterson debating Bill C-16 with another professor, during a classroom discussion about pronouns.[105][106][107] The reasons given for the censure included the clip creating a “toxic climate”, being compared to a “speech by Hitler“,[26] and being itself in violation of Bill C-16.[108] The censure was later withdrawn and both the professors and the university formally apologized.[109][110][111] The events were criticized by Peterson, as well as several newspaper editorial boards[112][113][114] and national newspaper columnists[115][116][117][118] as an example of the suppression of free speech on university campuses. In June 2018, Peterson filed a $1.5-million lawsuit against Wilfrid Laurier University, arguing that three staff members of the university had maliciously defamed him by making negative comments about him behind closed doors.[119] Wilfried Laurier asked that the lawsuit be dismissed, saying that it was ironic for a purported advocate of free speech to attempt to curtail free speech.[120]

Gender relations and masculinity

Peterson has argued that there is an ongoing “crisis of masculinity” and “backlash against masculinity” where the “masculine spirit is under assault”.[20][121][122][123] He has argued that feminism and policies such as no-fault divorce have had adverse effects on gender relations and destabilized society.[121] He has argued that the existing societal hierarchy that the “left” has characterised as an “oppressive patriarchy” might “be predicated on competence.”[20] Peterson has said that men without partners are likely to become violent, and has noted that “enforced monogamy”, i.e. societies wherein monogamy is a social norm, decrease male violence.[20][121] He has attributed the rise of Donald Trump and far-right European politicians to what he says is a push to “feminize” men, saying “If men are pushed too hard to feminize they will become more and more interested in harsh, fascist political ideology.”[124] He attracted considerable attention over a 2018 Channel 4 interview where he clashed with interviewer Cathy Newman on the topic of the gender pay gap.[125][126]Peterson disputed that the gender pay gap was solely due to sexual discrimination.[126][127][128] Writing for The New York TimesNellie Bowles said that most of Peterson’s ideas “stem from a gnawing anxiety around gender”.[20]

Climate change

Peterson doubts the scientific consensus on climate change.[129][130] Peterson has said he is “very skeptical of the models that are used to predict climate change”.[131] He has also said, “You can’t trust the data because too much ideology is involved”.[132][130]

Personal life

Peterson married Tammy Roberts in 1989.[25] They have one daughter and one son.[21][25]

He is a philosophical pragmatist.[60] In a 2017 interview, Peterson was asked “are you a Christian?” and responded “I suppose the most straight-forward answer to that is yes”.[133] In 2018, Peterson emphasized that his conceptualization of Christianity is probably not what is generally understood, stating that the ethical responsibility of a Christian is to imitate Christ, for him meaning “something like you need to take responsibility for the evil in the world as if you were responsible for it … to understand that you determine the direction of the world, whether it’s toward heaven or hell”.[134] When asked if he believes in God, Peterson responded: “I think the proper response to that is No, but I’m afraid He might exist”.[9] Writing for The SpectatorTim Lott said Peterson draws inspiration from Jung’s philosophy of religion, and holds views similar to the Christian existentialism of Søren Kierkegaard and Paul Tillich. Lott also said Peterson has respect for Taoism, as it views nature as a struggle between order and chaos, and posits that life would be meaningless without this duality.[28]

Starting around 2000, Peterson began collecting Soviet-era paintings,[26] displayed in his house as a reminder of, he argues, the relationship between totalitarian propaganda and art, and as examples of how idealistic visions can become totalitarian oppression and horror.[4][34] In 2016, Peterson became an honorary member of the extended family of Charles Joseph, a Kwakwaka’wakw artist, and was given the name Alestalagie (“Great Seeker”).[26][135] In late 2016, Peterson went on a strict diet consisting only of meat and some vegetables to control severe depression and an auto-immune disorder, including psoriasis and uveitis.[22][136] He stopped eating any vegetables in mid-2018.[137]

Peterson wrote the foreword to the fiftieth anniversary edition of The Gulag Archipelago, released in November 2018.[138]

Bibliography

Books

Select publications

Notes

  1. ^ The phrase “a prohibited ground of discrimination” means that it is illegal to discriminate against an individual or groups of people on the grounds of (based on) race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, etc.

References …

External links

 

 

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What DVDs Should I Buy or Binge Watch Both Movies and Television Series — Videos

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